Have you ever been hurt at church?
Encouraging Words from Cary Schmidt
This is a wonderful article from a godly man I know who pastors a church in Connecticut. He has been in the ministry for a long time, and this post has already been a help to me. Maybe it will help you too.
Why do bad things happen to good people?
Everybody asks it, but I mean why do REALLY bad things happen to those we consider REALLY good people?
I don't mean fakes. I don't mean people who were pretending to be one thing when all along they were really something else.
I mean down-to-earth, real servants of God, who were living the dream, so to speak.
Not the American dream, the one that says you have a house, a yard, a dog and 2.5 kids. No, the ones living the 'ministry' dream...the ones who are on the 'inside', actively serving God every day, able to help those around them, and being given responsibility and service in their local church. The ones we all look up to. The ones we're pointed to as good examples.
Why do bad things happen to them?
First I ask, why do we question it?
Why do we assume that because they're in ministry they won't have anything bad happen to them?
I mean criminally bad.
I mean, why do we assume they're immune to a doctor giving them bad medication and it causing them to have an irreversible disease.
Or a neighbor getting angry at them over something ridiculous and calling government agency after agency until they find something they don't like.
Or a trusted friend betrays.
Or they're in a car accident and lose a husband, a daughter, a son, a wife.
We know sometimes bad things happen to good people. But you know, bad things also also happen to REALLY good people.
I think too often we see something bad happen, something downright inexplicable, and we wonder what was 'really going on' in that house.
We start to think, well, they weren't who we really thought they were. They 'obviously' had some skeletons in their closet.
Maybe God's trying to get their attention.
Maybe they were burned out.
Guess who we just became?
Job's friends weren't really all that friend-like. They assumed, they judged, they condemned, they were self-righteous.
Our pastors, ministers, Sunday school teachers - they aren't immune to disease, to sin, to someone else's bad choices having consequences for them. They aren't immune to any of that.
Don't judge them hastily when something happens. You don't know what brought it on. You don't know the truth behind any of it.
Judge when it's your responsibility to judge, but don't step over that boundary from discretion into condemnation when it isn't your place.
And always and forever, PRAY for them.
Ministers aren't immune, they are actually more prone to the devil's attacks. Things will be thrown at them that you cannot imagine unless you're in the ministry in some way.
Pray for a hedge of protection.
Pray for peace and boldness.
And when something bad happens in their life, pray for them still. Pray they'll be brought through it. Pray for God's further protection. Pray for God to be given the glory. Pray for God's will to be done.
The weeping willow has got to be one of my favorite trees of all time. They are so distinctive, so unusual that they stand out everywhere they grow. They are graceful, and attractive - you just want to stare at them for some reason.
A friend of mine wrote this next piece awhile ago, and I thought I'd share it here. Her thoughts spoke to me - it's something that I think God wants us all to be like. I left it exactly as she wrote it, the links to her books and blog are below.
When I couldn’t sleep at 3:30 this morning, I began to talk to God. I began praying for me to be better in some areas as the Spirit led me. He told me to study the Weeping Willow tree and find out all about it as He wanted me to be like it. I thought this was odd. I thought maybe He wanted me to be depressed? But that didn’t really seem right, so I just did my study, and here are some facts about the trees: They are fast growing, they have a distinctive shape, they aren’t fussy about their soil type, and they’re very adaptive. Taken straight from wiki, word for word, “While they prefer moist, cool conditions, they can tolerate some drought.” Thank you, Lord! What are we without right now at our house? That’s right, water! Another neat thing I learned about the tree is that the first aspirin was invented from its sap. Many people take one aspirin a day for heart health. The Weeping Willow has helped many hearts. Does this line up with me being a counselor? This is no coincidence. I am now considering myself to be a Weeping Willow. Most people would think that’s depressing, but I think it fits me perfectly. Look at the branches on the tree and see how they bend, but don’t break. They are so flexible that they look double jointed. Lord, make me this flexible. Allow me to enjoy my time of drought with no complaint. Help me help many hearts! Help me to grow quickly so I might provide shade for a person who feels like they are burning up inside! What a revelation. If you’ve read this, maybe you should try talking to God and asking what kind of tree He wants you to be. Thank you, Lord!
In the Bible the first mention I found of a willow tree was Psalms 2: "We hanged our harps on the willow tree in the midst thereof ..." this scripture is referring to
the Babylonian captives who retired their instruments of praise when they were in a crisis situation. HOW IRONIC THAT THEY HUNG THEIR HARPS ON A WILLOW TREE!. Praising God in our storms is the key to victory and we must be like weeping willow trees and not only survive but thrive! Thank you Lord for your revelation to Cindee this morning!
Cynthia P. Willow 's website
Isn't that a wonderful article? She is right - and I think in many ways the willow tree embodies how God wants us all to grow. It's almost always found right on the edge of a water source - a tree planted by the rivers of water. It's usually leaning over the water, too - as if it's roots can't quite get enough, and it has to bend over to see that river it stands next to.
It's hardy, as well. It's able to handle drought situations better than some other trees.
And as Christians, aren't we supposed to stand out from the rest? Aren't we supposed to be someone other people watch and want to watch?
I think I've got some more thinking to do on this myself. How about you?
Starting the new year right is something that I think all of us want to do. And in that spirit, I've seen many posts advocating following your heart in 2014.
Thing is, is that Biblical?
I mean it sounds all warm and fluffy - you know, be true to your own feelings. The idea of following your heart brings up the notion of knowing what you want and following your true desires.
But is it Biblical?
In 2014, I just think we ought to really look at that statement and decide if that's really what God says.
What does the Bible say about our heart?
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
This doesn't sound like something that God wants us following, does it?
I can never understand why Christians would repeat this phrase when God so clearly declares our hearts to be deceitful and that we ought NOT follow it.
So instead, what does God say we should follow?
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
God's Word is what we should be following.
So don't follow your heart - make your heart follow God.
Happy New Year!
Make it the best 2014 it can be, by following the right heart - God's heart.
Want to hear from me?
Life is full of Adventure
Welcome to my world. We've got lots going on here. Usually I post little things like devotionals and sometimes book reviews. However, please check out the other links there at the top: My Books will take you to the books I currently have out for sale. Editing services is for anyone whose manuscript or project might need some polishing.
Cliffhangers is the link to our family's online sales stores, including Bricklink (LEGO), eBay, and Bonanza (an up and coming auction site).